Self Sponsorship for 457 Visas Disallowed

Changes have been made to the policy document for 457 nominations which means that self-sponsorship is now very difficult. The changes are in relation to the "genuine position" requirement for the nomination. As a result, the nomination would be refused on the basis that the position has been created just to facilitate a visa application.

Immigration has set out the following "risk factors" which could indicate the position is not genuine

  • Visa applicant is a director or owner of the sponsoring business
  • Visa applicant is a relative or personal associate of an officer of the sponsoring business

Immigration will wish to see an ASIC historical extract with the application - this would give information on the company owners and directors, and so assist in establishing whether the visa applicant is associated with a company officer. Sponsors must also declare who the company officers and shareholders are in the application for sponsorship approval.

The policy document specifically mentions that the application will be scrutinised if an overseas business is being used to "self-sponsor" a business owner to establish a branch in Australia. The stated reason is to prevent the 457 program from being used to circumvent the Business Innovation and Investment Subclass 188 program.

One of the other risk factors mentioned is where the applicant is currently in Australia on a Working Holiday subclass 417 visa. This suggests that Working Holiday Makers may find it much more difficult to obtain a 457 visa.

The "self-sponsorship" ban is certainly ill-advised and will lead to fewer businesses being started in Australia by temporary residents. It is also somewhat contrary to the intention of the National Innovation and Science Agenda which seeks to promote start up businesses in Australia.